Thursday, August 9, 2007, 10:31 AM
Our goal for day number two, my final day, was to shoot five video segments on the world famous Kenai river for the new Alaska Magazine web site. ( http://www.AlaskaMagazine.com ) Growing up on the Mississippi River, I thought I was ready for this adventure. Wow, I was wrong.
The drive was three hours each way of wonderful torture. One gorgeous scene after another. It seems that no matter where you turn, you can not escape a beautiful view. I have been to a lot of pretty places, but you can almost always just turn the car around the mountains are behind you as you leave for home. Not in Alaska. Turn in any direction and see a different view. The best part of the drive was the company and seeing the Cook Inlet. See photo gallery for picture. http://www.chatalaska.com/ryandohrn/gallery/view_gallery.one?gal_id=42673 The Cook Inlet has a story all by itself, but this post is about fly fishing the Kenai.
As we stood at the dock watching the water rush by I saw a Starbucks coffee cup float by, our course the usual corporate comments were made, but what impressed me the most was the speed of the current. The cup was in front of us and then gone! Having tried to dock many a boat in my time as a river captain (LOL) I was simply amazed at the skill needed by our Captain and Guide to just get the Alaska Magazine boat to the dock. Alaska Magazine is emblazoned on the side of this 16 foot flat bottom guide boat, so we needed to make a good showing for the company. The boat had four seats and a 35hp motor, which is the maximum allowed by law on the Kenai. You will see now wake boarders on the Kenai. Alan had to float down river 40 yards from the launch point and then hammer down all 35hp of his outboard engine to get back to the dock against the current to pick us up. It was only a few moments and we were off on this days adventure. The water temperature was approximately 40 degrees and the air temp was about 74. We headed up river in search of Sockeye or “Red’s” as they are called on the Kenai.
I rolled off about 20 minutes of tape just on the trip up river. I was amazed at the hundreds of anglers in mid current hoping for a bite. I knew keeping the camera dry would be an adventure of its own, but I wanted to fish a little too. Heck, I can’t have a good fish story without a fish!
In trying to explain this adventure I came across the site: http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/areas/fishing/southcentral/kenai-fishing.htm I would recommend checking out! They do a great job describing the river, "There is only one word to describe the angling opportunities on the Kenai Peninsula, is "incomparable". This area ranks high on the list of favorites in the state. It is home to the both the world's largest run of Sockeye salmon, which is accessible by vehicle, and the Peninsula is also home of the largest King salmon ever caught. This peninsula is easily reached, heavily fished, and contains everything from world-class lodges to do-it-yourself camp sites. From fish to clams, and combat fishing to serenity, you get it all on the Kenai. While fishing on the Kenai Peninsula (sometimes misspelled Keni or even Keani), saltwater anglers can expect King, Sockeye, Coho, and Pink salmon. The adjacent waters of Cook Inlet are renowned for giant Pacific halibut. Rockfish, Dolly Varden Char, and steelhead trout are also available. Where the saltwater reaches the land, a unique opportunity presents itself."
Our guide on the trip was Captain Alan Henderson and he will be our host on the video clips. He is from Ninilchik Charters of Soldotna, Alaska. http://ninilchick.com Now, I have not been on a guided fishing trip but if this guy was a bar for judging guide services, the bar is set pretty darn high in my book. He has been a guide for many years on the Kenai and now also fishes on the ocean as well. Humor, skill and raw skill embodies Alan Henderson.
Our second spot began to yield some results for the crew. The sun was baking us like a cat on a hot tin roof. Can we say SPF 75? Fishing is all about patience, oh yes and you know me I have about as much of that as a six year old on Christmas morning. It was not until about 5 hours into the trip when we began to hit the “mother load”. The nice thing, the sun does not go down in Alaska until midnight, so the only thing stopping us from casting was the fatigue in our arms.
I filmed a good part of the day and got some great action on the river. While we were fishing I had my chance to cast and cast and cast and cast and cast and cast! I hit one red salmon and the thrill was amazing. It took 7 minutes to reel him in under the watchful eye of Captain Alan. The Sockeye are a tough fish to catch because they do not bite your fly. In a nut shell, you have to truly catch them as they float by and get the hook in their mouth. Everyone in our party got at least one Sockeye. Complete Kenai river photos online at: http://www.chatalaska.com/ryandohrn/gallery/view_gallery.one?gal_id=42673
Folks, one trip to the Kenai River in Alaska is all it takes to get "hooked" on Alaska.
Piece of advice, 2 days in Alaska is not enough.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007, 5:34 PM
I just added several Anchorage, Alaska photos from my first day. My first stop, after Starbucks, was Chugach State Park, what a view! I will not say who my top secret tour guide was. Perhaps you will need to check back on http://www.AlaskaMagazine.com in a few days to find out. But wait, you are on a business trip? Why are you out wondering around? Shouldn't you be in a a meeting or something? Believe you me, this was all business! My Alaska photos are online: http://www.chatalaska.com/ryandohrn/gallery/view_gallery.one?gal_id=41321
Chugach State Park is a 495,204-acre (2,004 km²) state park in the Municipality of Anchorage in the U.S. state of Alaska. Located in the Chugach Mountains just east of the Anchorage Bowl, it is a very popular recreation destination. It is the third-largest state park in the United States, behind only Adirondack Park in New York and Wood-Tikchik State Park in Alaska.
Learn more online: http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/chugach/ .
What a great crew Morris has at Alaska Magazine in Anchorage. These folks are die hard and love sharing their passion for Alaska with others. Kudos to all of them!!
Tuesday, August 7, 2007, 9:49 AM
Sleeping on an airplane is like sleeping right at the edge of consciousness. You hear everything, but you hear nothing. I often dream while flying and awake only in time for the in flight snack. How is that possible? Snack fairy perhaps? But, this morning at 12:03am Alaska time (4:04am EST), it seemed that I was brought out of my not so deep slumber for a reason. Perhaps the "sprit of Alaska" woke me to answer that one question I asked in my first Anchorage, Alaska travel blog post, "why to people think Alaska is so great?". My iPodTM had just finished playing Amy Winehouse and I quietly awoke and looked out the side window. It was pitch black and then the plane made a subtle turn as if on cue for the show to begin. My window served as a frame for the picture that was about to be displayed to me and me alone. There before my very eyes was the first sunset I had ever seen at midnight. There was a long pink stripe across the horizon. It seemed to go on forever. It was an amazing color and we were high enough that I could almost make out the shape of the earth. It was the deepest pink hue, nothing that could be replicated by my camera. This was not a normal sunset, big and bold with various shades of pink and orange, but a long narrow strip of deep, deep pink that faded to black. Then, as if a painter had been hired to add effect, a range of mountains came into the picture. It appeared as if the mountains were being painted stroke by stroke. We were flying along side a mountain range that grew as we entered deeper into the valley. I could not gauge how far we were away from the mountains, but they seemed so close. Then another small turn by the pilot and it was gone. Just like that the moon appeared. Just like that the moon appeared! It was at that point that I realized we were over water and I could see the waves crashing below. The landing gear dropped and we began to drop as well to the smoothest flare and touchdown of my flying career. You see, as a former student of flight, I try and guess when the wheels will touch down. "Welcome to Anchorage where the local time is 12:15" (that is 4:15am in GA) was the last thing I remember as my GA trained body fell back to sleep for a few more minutes. Despite the experience, perhaps this was all more than I could handle for my first morning in Alaska?
Monday, August 6, 2007, 7:42 AM
Anchorage, Alaska or bust I guess. I am thinking of re-writing, "Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go..." to ... "From plane to plane and east to west through TSA I go..." lol Anyway, this is my last post from GA. I have a Sony PD170 in tow, my little Nikon camera, good ol' laptop, warmer than normal clothing and of course my Icy Hot back ptaches. Did I tell you my back has been killing me for 30 days? Oh yeah, I can thank a big long hedge in my front yard for some killer lower back pain. My Chiro, Dr. DeGraff has been cracking away! Thanks Glenn. Of course, I suppose kneeboarding yeasterday with the family was not so smart. (See previous post) Again, lol. Got to have some family fun when you travel like I do some months for work. Any way, AGS to ATL via Delta. ATL to Seattle, then Alaska Air to Anchorage. I arrive at 11:30pm ALASKA TIME! My Silver Medallion status got me nadda on upgrades this trip. At least, that is what I am told this morning via the top secret SM Delta phone line. There really is such a thing. Anyway, I am packed up and off to the airport. More to report, if they have Internet "there". Hmmm. Last post from "here".
Sunday, August 5, 2007, 8:09 AM
On AlaskaMagazine.com at the following URL is a really neat daylight calculator:
Punching in the city the database returned the following data for today:
5 August 2007 Alaska Daylight Time
Begin civil twilight 4:39 a.m.
Sunrise 5:42 a.m.
Sun transit 2:05 p.m.
Sunset 10:27 p.m.
End civil twilight 11:29 p.m.
Can we say, "Holy jetlag batman"? I was making some plans to prepare my body for this trip. Staying up later, drinking more coffee, etc., but a sleeping mask I had forgotten. Guess I better hope Walmart has some in stock. But, here in GA, I have to wait until after 1:30pm on Sundays to go buy one. GA has Blue Laws that do not allow you to buy goods not found in a grocery store until after 1:30pm on Sunday. Urgh.
My family has spent parts of the last three days camping at Clarks Hill Lake, or Thurmond Lake as it is now called, on the GA and SC line. We have been boating, swimming, kneebaording and grilling. My kids love it! I wanted to spend some quality family time with them before I embarked on my journey to Alaska tomorrow morning.
Thurmond Lake is one of the southeast's largest and most popular public recreation lakes. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1946 and 1954 as part of a flood control, hydropower, and navigation project, authorized purposes now include recreation, water quality, water supply, and fish and wildlife management. Each year, millions off people utilize the many public parks, marinas, and campgrounds conveniently located around the lake to pursue a variety of outdoor recreational experiences -making Thurmond one of the 10 most visited Corps lakes in the nation. http://www.sas.usace.army.mil/lakes/thurmond